Reads for Students Worried About Fitting In

Everyone faces some level of anxiety about being liked, fitting in, or finding their own place in the world. For children and teens that have just started getting into the swing of school for the year, this is especially true.

fitinThese are some books about children struggling with fitting in and finding their own worth in the face of new situations and bullies. More often than not, our main characters discover that everyone has the same worries and that standing out is not such a bad thing. As a bonus for readers that are not facing some of these fears, reading books about others struggling can help them empathize with siblings or classmates. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinellifitin2
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Locker Hero by Rachel Renée Russell
The Detention Club by David Yoo
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yangfitin4
The Loser List by H. N. Kowitt
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
School Spirit by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart
Warp Speed by Lisa Yee
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Callie’s Rules by Naomi Zuckerfitin6
The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Massfitin7
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

There are so many wonderful books about fitting in and standing out that I only touched the surface here. Do you have a favorite from your childhood, or that you have recently discovered, that you would like to recommend? If so leave the title in the comments so the rest of us can check it out too.

The Cover Was Blue.

How many times has someone recommend a book, or you saw a book on the shelf and did not have time to read it, and you thought you would remember the author or title when it came time to find it and read it yourself? It happens to us too. We know exactly who wrote that book or series, at least until someone asks us. When that happens, we use our skills and look it up, even though we feel like we should already know the answer.

bluebooksSometimes no one can remember enough of the author or title to do the necessary searching to figure out the answer. Often times at this point all any of us can remember is the color or image on the cover. For some reason, the cover in these cases is almost always blue. So, here are some of the most popular books that might fit the bill if you are looking for a popular read and all you can remember is that the cover was blue. I have noted any books shelves in or children’s room with a J, and any books shelved in our young adult or teen area with a YA.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (YA)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
The Selection by Kiera Cass (YA)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (YA)
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (YA)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (J)
Wonder by R.J. Palacio (J)

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Eragon by Christopher Paolini (YA)
Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (YA)
The Wind is Not a River by Brian Payton
The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This is only a small portion of possibilities, as blue seems to be a very popular color for book covers. Are you still searching or need a different cover color? Comment with the information you do have and I will do my best to find the book for which you are searching!

International Authors for Children and Young Adults

I am not sure how many people are aware of the number of fantastic international authors available in the children’s room. Many such authors are already popular, but the fact that the books were originally published in another language or overseas is simply not part of the cover art or publicity that the books receive. inkheart

For instance, Cornelia Funke, best known for her Inkheart series which is popular in book and movie format, is German. Although she lives in California now, the majority of her works were originally written in German and published in Germany well before being translated and published in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Some of the books in our collection that are translations might surprise you. Particularly some of the classic picture books. This is a small sampling of the picture books, children’s chapter books, and young adult books that have been translated from other languages. There are many more great ones, if I missed one of your favorites, please mention it in the translate3comments for everyone to enjoy.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister; translated from German by J. Alison James.  The most beautiful fish in the entire ocean discovers the real value of personal beauty and friendship.

Press Here and Mix it up! by Hervé Tullet; translated from French by Christopher Franceschelli. Instructs the reader on how to interact with the illustrations to create imaginative images.
My Heart is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz; translated from Swedish by Julia Marshall. Dani’s been trying her best to stay happy ever since her best friend Ella moved away.

Big Wolf & Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme; translated from French by Claudia Bedrick. Big Wolf has always lived alone, so when a little wolf suddenly arrives one day, he does not know what to think.

Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann; translated by Ralph Manheim. After hearing how her toy nutcracker got his ugly face, a little girl helps break the spell.

Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault; translated by Malcolm Arthur. A clever cat wins his master a fortune and the hand of a princess. translate2

Children’s Chapter Books:
Ring of Fire by Pierdomenico Baccalario ; translated by Leah D. Janeczko. Four seemingly unrelated children discover they are destined to become involved in an ancient mystery.

Igraine the Brave, Dragon Rider, and many more by Cornelia Funke; translated from the German by Anthea Bell. The daughter of two magicians, twelve-year-old Igraine wants nothing more than to be a knight.

Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye and the original books from the Geronimo Stilton pseudonym were translated from translate5Italian by Lidia Tramontozzi. Geronimo’s sister, Thea, discovers an old, mysterious map showing a secret treasure hidden on a faraway island.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren; translated from Swedish by Tiina NunnallyRing of Fire by Pierdomenico Baccalario ; translated by Leah D. JaneczkoRing of Fire by Pierdomenico Baccalario ; translated by Leah D. Janeczko. Escapades of a lucky little girl who lives with a horse and a monkey–but without any parents.

Princess Pistachio by Marie-Louise Gay; translated from French by Jacob Homel. Pistachio knew all along that she was a princess, but her ‘real’ parents, the king and queen of Papua, have sent her a message at last.

Young Adult:
Ruby Red and more by Kerstin Gier; translated from the German by Anthea Bell. Sixteen-year-old Gwyneth discovers that she, rather than her well-prepared cousin, carries a time-travel gene.

The Dragons of Darkness and Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis; translated by Anthea Bell. Two boys from very different backgrounds are thrown together by magic, mayhem, as they battle deadly dragons.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke; translated by Oliver Latsch. Jacob and Will Reckless have looked out for each other ever since their father disappeared, but when Jacob discovers a magical mirror that transports him to a  world populated by witches, giants, and ogres, he keeps it to himself. 
Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf; translated by Tim Mohr. Mike Klingenberg is a troubled fourteen-year-old who thinks of himself as boring, until a Russian juvenile delinquent includes Mike in his criminal activities.

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve; translated by Tammi Reichel. Ten-year-old Ziska Mangold is taken out of Nazi Germany on one of the Kindertransport trains, to live in London with a Jewish family.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón; translated by Lucia Graves. Thirteen-year-old Max Carver and sister, fifteen-year-old Alicia, with new friend Roland, face off against an evil magician who is striving to complete a bargain made before he died.

The Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor; translated by Linda Coverdale. Three girls, known as the Stones of Prophecy, are drawn to a land called Fairytale, where they and seek a magical creature who explains their role in a battle between Good and Evil.

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis; translated by Miriam Debbage. Seventeen-year-old Anna begins to fall in love with her classmate, Abel, a drug dealer from the wrong side of town, when she hears him tell a story to his six-year-old sister.

Getting In On The Games – Fiction For and About Gamers

Video games, whether on computers, consoles, tablets, or handheld players are fun diversions for many people of all ages. For serious players the worlds within games offer an escape, communities of like-minded individuals, and mild (or not so mild) obsessions for the players. It is no wonder that authors have used video games as subject matter, setting, plot device, or even characters in their work. Here are some great novels, divided into children’s fiction and young adult fiction, that might particularly appeal to gamers and those that lose them to the games.gamerj1

My Life as a Gamer by Janet Tashjian
Derek Fallon gets the chance of a lifetime when he is asked to test software for new video games, but he soon discovers that his dream job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Game Over, Pete Watson by Joe Schreibergamerj4
When video game obsessed Pete Watson discovers his dad is not only a super-spy but has been kidnapped and is now trapped inside a video game, he has to use his super gaming skills and enter the game to rescue him.

Game On! by D.J. Steinberg
When Old Fogey escapes from prison and creates a video game that physically sucks the players into the game, it is up to Daniel, aka Loud Boy, and his friends to call upon their superpowers to rescue the captured players.

More children’s books that video game fans and players might really enjoy include:The Time Hackers by Gary Paulsen, Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde,Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind by Jeff Miller, Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett, Brainboy and the Deathmaster by Tor Seidler, Herbert’s Wormhole by Peter Nelson, and Game On! by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm.

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Young Adults
Playing Tyler by TL Costa
Tyler MacCandless feels trapped caring for his older brother in rehab and working at gamerya1McDonald’s, until he is introduced to a new video game that could earn him a place in flight school, but may also be very different than it appears.

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow
Immersing herself in an online role-playing game where she enjoys fantasy heroics, Anda confronts a difficult choice when she befriends a disadvantaged Chinese kid who works illegally to gamerya8collect valuable objects and sell them to other players for real money.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and gamerya4disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

More young adult books that video game fans and players might really enjoy include: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Neuromancer by William Gibson, The Peripheral by William Gibson, For the Win by Cory Doctorow, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card,  In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak, The Eye of Minds by James Dashner, Erebos: It’s a Game: It Watches You by Ursula Poznanski, Epic by Conor Kostick, Insignia by S. J. Kincaid, The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak by Brian Katcher, and Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff.

Young Adult Books Without Romance

Do you love young adult books but have found yourself bored with the love triangles and angst that comes with the almost constant presence of a complicated love interest? Well, I have gone in search of young adult books that entertain and are romance free! Here are some of the best young adult books that steer clear of the expected traps of young love. Some of these might have some flirting, or some hints of possible romance in the future, but I aimed for the books with no romance at all. This turned out to be a harder list than I nolovechildrenexpected to curate; so if you have additional titles to suggest please share them in the comments. I know I cannot be the only one to notice the lack in this area.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.

Sabriel by Garth Nix
nolovesabrielSabriel, daughter of the necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead.

Here, There be Dragons by James A. Owen
Set in 1917, an undergraduate is given a special book that he is told was the reason for his professor’s murder and so must now protect it with his life as he goes on a journey like no other to places that are only supposed to exist in history and dreams.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Weinnoloveverity
In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage and great courage as she relates what she must do to survive while keeping secret all that she can.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Leaving the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white high school, Junior struggles to find his place in his new surroundings in order to escape his destiny back on the reservation.

Going Bovine by Libba Braynolovebovine
Dealing with an illness that will soon result in his death, 16-year-old Cam is intrigued by the stories told by an eccentric girl named Dulcie and so is encouraged to go on a wild road trip across America where their search for a special cure will lead them to the strangest places on the map.

For more romance free, or very light, here are some more suggestions; Deadline by Chris Crutcher, Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard, The Eye of Minds by James Dashner, The Alchemyst: the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Monster by Walter Dean Myers, Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett, Orleans by Sherri L. Smith, The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Hobbit: or, There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Maze Runner by James Dashner,The Sky Inside by Clare B. Dunkle, Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac, or Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

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